Our Beautiful World

Animals on Kamchatka  Part 1.

The Brown Bear of Kamchatka
 Courtesy: http://www.kamchatka.org.ru 

Animals on these page

This page
American mink, Mustela vison Arctic ground squirrel, Spermophilus parryii
Brown Bear, Ursus arctos Siberian lemming, Lemmus sibericus
Reindeer, Rangifer tarandus Kamchatka Marmot, Marmota kamtschatica
Russian Arctic Fox, Alopex lagopus Wolverine, Gulo gulo
  Kamchatka snow sheep, Ovis nivicola nivicola
  Sabel, Martes zibellina
  Euro-asian otter, Lutra lutra

3. Animals on Kamchatka

There are 43 mammal species in the Kamchatka Oblast, nine of which are marine mammals
(excluding migrating whales and dolphins.

American mink, Mustela vison
Courtesy: Mammal of Isle Royale, NPS

ARKive video - Female American mink moving young
Female American mink, Mustela vison, moving young
BBC Natural History Unit

Muskrat ©? and Canadian beaver, ©Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Three species have been introduced:
American mink (Mustela vison), muskrat (Ondatra zibethica) and
Canadian beaver (Castor canadensis).

Then there are 240 species of birds, 3 spedies of bats and 2 species of amphibians.
Of these, about 40 birds, 12 cetaceans and 2 terrestrial mammals are rare or endangered.

 Courtesy: http://www.kamchatka.org.ru 

The King of Kamchatka: The Brown Bear, Ursus arctos
Kamchatka has one of the highest populations of brown bear (Ursus arctos) in the world.
Since times immemorial salmon has been the basic food for the Master of Kamchatka and
the major source of fat stocks that allowed them to survive through the long Kamchatka's


When salmon spawning time is near, bears from far and wide come to the rivers
Courtesy: http://www.kamchatkapeninsula.com/

© http://www.ecosystema.ru/

However, after leaving the den, the bear is ready to eat anything, but still does not
represent a threat to the warm-blooded except ground squirrels which he sometimes digs
out right from the winter burrow. It may seem incredible, but the huge predator obediently
has an almost vegetarian diet for several months before the rivers are filled up with fish.
In July you can observe an idyllic picture of brown bears grazing like domestic cattle in
the forest's ' berry fields and in the coastal tundra.

The highest concentration of bears in Eurasia is found here
Courtesy: http://www.kamchatkapeninsula.com/

However, Kamchatka's huge brown bears are regularly killed by poachers to satisfy the
Asian market for bear organs. Hundreds of ears - the same species as the North American
grizzly - are killed by poachers every year to satisfy Chinese and Koreans who pay thousand
of dollars for the animals organs for medicinal use. According to some estimates, the bear
population in Kamchatka has dropped by 50 percent since the 1960s. Nobody knows how
many bears still roam the Kamchatka wilderness (estimates range from 6,000 to 25,000),
but poachers are killing as many as 2,000 annually.

More than 300 bears will also be killed legally this year by trophy hunters, including wealthy
Americans and Canadians who pay as much as US $ 13,000 for the privilege of bagging a bear.
As many as one thousand bears will be shot legally by local hunters.

Rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus
Courtesy: http://www.kamchatkapeninsula.com/
text needed regarding the rabbits in Kamchatka!

Courtesy: http://www.kamchatkapeninsula.com/

© www.vulkaner.no

Reindeer, Rangifer tarandus
Thanks to relatively little snow in the winter, alpine tundra areas on volcanic foothills in the
Kronotsky Biosphere Zopovednink serve as winter pasture for up to 90 percent of the
peninsula's wild reindeer population and snow sheep population remains stable and high
despite severe declines elsewhere in Kamchatka.

A reindeer belongs in the deer family and their color varies. Reindeer generally have brown
rough fur, with an ivory colored neck and mane. Their stomach, butt, and lower parts of tail
are white. Most of the reindeer that inhabit the tundra, the coniferous forests of Northern
Siberia, and any woodlands are more brownish. All reindeer have a large nose, small ears
and a tiny furry tail.

The bulls weigh about 275 to 660 pounds, while the females only weigh from 150 to 300
pounds. The female's antlers are smaller. The fawn is without spots and matches the adult
reindeer. On the Arctic islands the animals are nearly all white in color.

Reindeer breed in October through November. After gestation period of about eight months
one or two calves are born in the middle of May through early July. The young reindeer at
birth weighs about eleven pounds. The newborn calves can stand in about 1/2 hour after birth,
run after 1 1/2 hour, and run with the herd within a day. The newborn calves begins to eat
solid foods in two weeks and may keep on nursing into the wintertime.

Did you know that reindeer are excellent swimmers? During their migrations they swim across many rivers and streams without difficulty.
Part of ext above from Arctic Wildlife, By Fred J. Kane

See more reindeer here

Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus)
From The Arctic Fox Gallery at Digital Nature

The Copper Island Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus mednovi) is one of the most critically
endangered mammals in Asia.

Russian Arctic Fox, Alopex lagopus
Name: arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus, previously Alopex lagopus);
Norwegian: fjellrev (=polarrev); German: Polarfuchs; French: renard arctique

The Russian arctic fox is a fox subspecies and does not turn white at all. Instead, she remains
gray-brown. The fox's preferred territory ranges from arctic and alpine tundra to ice covered
seas. The foxes have been known to wander extremely far -- as much as 2000 km for one fox.
The distance traveled is incredible when the fox's size is considered, for he is no bigger than a
house cat. Arctic foxes are scavengers and hunters eating almost anything available that others
leave behind.

The Russian arctic fox has the warmest fur of any animal. The fox has two color phases;
the white phase begins as short brown fur during the fall season, that is covered by a dense
white coat in the winter. On the summer and late winter the fox becomes a deep bluish gray color.
The fox's winter color depends on its habitat: the blue phase being for Arctic foxes that live
near the shore. When foxes are ready to give birth they prepare a den; each den can consist
of four to twelve openings, but have been known to have more than a hundred openings,
as they are passed down from generation to generation.
Above text from "Kamchatka Creatures" by Ciel Yogis

ARKive video - Arctic fox hunting lemmings
Arctic fox, Alopex lagopus, hunting lemmings
BBC Natural History Unit

Fiery fox, Vulpes vulpes
© www.vulkaner.no

Fiery fox, Vulpes vulpes

 0. Main menu
 1. Preface
 2. Where on Earth is Kamchatka?
 4. Birds - Birding
 5. Flora - Flowers and forests
 6. Sealife
 7. Valley of Geysers
 8. The Volcanoes of Kamchatka
 9. The Forests in Kamchatka
10. The Indigenous People of Kamchatka
11. Vitus Bering, explorer
12. Georg Steller, naturalist
13. Siberia

Back to menu - Continue to next item

Text and pictures on this page, if nothing else mentioned:
 Courtesy: http://www.kamchatka.org.ru,  and from the book "The Russian Far East" 


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